By: Jessi Kirby
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: May 2011
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: May 2011
It will be hard for readers to believe, after completing this book, that this is actually a debut novel. The emotional and fantastical storyline that this author has woven and 'gifted' to audiences is something that no reader will soon forget.
Anna has had a slightly rough past. She lost a parent a long time ago when her beloved mother walked into the ocean and didn’t come back out. Her father is a good man, and he and Anna have maintained a good life with a solid friendship, even though they don’t speak as much as they once did. Having her father 'land' a better job in a place called Crystal Cove, however, changes Anna’s life in every way possible.
Anna has to pack up, leave school and her friends, and her comfortable life behind, and head out to a new location for a fresh start. Her father has become the supervisor of Crystal Cove, which is a park across the Pacific Coast Highway where people come to eat, drink, swim in the ocean, and enjoy life. It is also the place where Anna’s mother and father met.
When Dad pulls up in front of a small white cottage with blue trim that’s practically sitting on the beach, Anna finds herself staring at a new world to her - yet a place that “shouts” of her parents’ past. Anna loves to run and collect sea glass on the sand - which is something she and her mother used to do - and plays a great part in the amazing storyline to come.
When Anna first begins to “get her feet wet,” certain things become evident: There is a man who people refer to as “The Crystal Crawler” who literally crawls across the sand in order to repent for something that happened a long time before; there’s a vacant, eerie cottage near Anna’s own that may still possess some of her beloved mother's secrets; and, there is an adorable “rich girl” with a huge spirit, named Ashley Whitmore who becomes Anna’s friend. Ashley is one of those go-getters who sets Anna up with new friends, a spot on the track team, and even pre-packed lunches that she brings from home to keep Anna healthy for her track meets.
There is also one other thing that Crystal Cove has to offer, and that is a large amount of handsome lifeguards who watch the beach. Tyler is one of those lifeguards. He is a senior at the local school, and every girl wants to be Tyler’s mate - yet he seems to be drawn to his boss’s daughter - the “new girl” with attitude who has a secret that she just can’t quite talk about.
This book offers everything from a look at first romance, to the challenges a teen must face when they are uprooted and moved to a brand new place. New friends, old memories, as well as an incredible look at a father/daughter relationship that is loving, kind, and filled with acceptance and forgiveness that the reader will truly find inspiring.
Quill Says: A beautiful, haunting debut novel that certainly speaks to the fact that this author is going to be around for a very long time to come.